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fame Lord Peter in Swift, performs throughout the very part that Mero plays in Fontenelle. Thus all is imitation. The idea of the Perfian Letters is taken from the Turkish Spy. Boiardo has imitated Pulci, Ariofto has imitated Boiardo. The geniuses, apparently moft original, borrow from each other *.
I SHALL conclude this fection with a ftory, which POPE himself related, because it is characteristical of his old friend, and I fhall give it in the very words which POPE ufed, when he told it to Mr. Spence."Dr. Swift has an odd blunt way that is mistaken by strangers for ill-nature; it is fo odd that there is no defcribing it but by facts. I'll tell you one, the first that comes into my head. One evening Gay and I went to fee him. On our coming in,
* Oeuvres de Voltaire a Geneve. Tom. 4, pag. 223. 1756.
+ The archbishop of Armagh Dr. Hoadly, happening to object one day in Swift's company to an expreffion of POPE, as not being the pureft English, Swift answered with his ufual roughness-" I could never get the blockhead to ftudy his grammar."
Hey-day, gentlemen, fays the Dean, what can be the meaning of this vifit? How came you to leave all the great lords you are fo fond of, to come hither to see a poor fcurvey Dean?-Becaufe we would rather see you than any of them.-Ay, any one that did not know you fo well as I do, might poffibly believe you; but fince you are come I must get fome fupper for you I fuppofe.-No, Doctor, we have fupped already *.-Supped already, that is impoffible, why it is not eight o'clock-Indeed we have-That's very ftrange; but if you had not fupped, I must have got something for you; let me fee, a couple of lobfters would have done very well, two fhillings; tarts, a fhilling: but you will drink a glass of wine with me, though you fupped fo much before your time only to spare my pocket. No, we had rather talk with than drink with you. But if you had fupped with me, as in all reafon you ought to have done, you must then have drank
* Tranfcribed from Mr. Spence's anecdotes.
with me.-A bottle of wine two shillingstwo and two are four, and one is five; juft two and fixpence a-piece; there Pope, there's half a crown for you, and there's another for you, Sir; for I won't fave any thing by you, I am determined. This was all faid and done with his ufual seriousness on fuch occafions: And in fpite of every thing we could fay to the contrary, he actually obliged us to take the money."
Of the ESSAY on MAN.
F it be a true obfervation, that for a poet to write happily and well, he must have feen and felt what he defcribes, and muft draw from living models alone; and if modern times, from their luxury and refinement, afford not manners that will bear to be described; it will then follow, that thofe fpecies of poetry bid fairest to fucceed at prefent, which treat of things, not men; which deliver doctrines, not difplay events. Of this fort is didactic and defcriptive poetry. Accordingly the moderns have produced many excellent pieces of this kind. We We may mention the Syphilis of Fracaftorius, the Silk-worms and Chefs of Vida, the Ambra of Politian, the Agriculture of Alamanni, the Art of Poetry of Boileau, the Gardens of Rapin, the Cyder of Phillips, the Chafe of Somerville, the Pleasures of Imagination, the Art of pre
ferving Health, the Fleece, the Religion of Racine the younger, the elegant Latin poem of Brown on the Immortality of the Soul, the Latin poems of STAY and BosCOVICK, and the philofophical poem before to which, if we may judge from fome beautiful fragments, we might have added Gray's didactic poem on Education and Government, had he lived to finish it. And the English Garden of Mr. Mafon must not be omitted.
THE ESSAY ON MAN is as close a piece of argument, admitting its principles, as perhaps can be found in verse. POPE informs us in his FIRST preface, " that he chose this epiftolary way of writing, notwithstanding his fubject was high, and of dignity, because of its being mixed with argument which of its nature approacheth to profe." He has not wandered into any useless digreffions, has employed no fictions, no tale or story, and has relied chiefly on the poetry of his ftile, for the purpose of interesting his readers. His ftile is con